Online is where everyone wants to be, but visibility is everything, and that’s especially important for the thousands of RE agents and agencies who may have designated websites but are unsure of how visitors are getting to them (if indeed they are).
One important thing to get their head around is that although thousands upon thousands of websites may exist, many agents are actually competing with others serving their vicinity. Evidently, some locations will be more competitive than others
Here are some of the most impactful steps for agents in working out the efficiency of their website SEO:
SEO audit -
necessary to conduct as this will help determine which pages are performing well and which need work, as well as identify duplicate pages which need to be addressed. Having a good grasp of how website pages are performing will shed light on the site’s ranking and performance overall, and its capacity to generate leads or convert clients. Google Analytics and the Google Search Console will help agents understand performance levels of:
- Page structure (title, meta description, tags, URLs etc),
- Site structure (sitelinks, redirects),
- Content (keywords, visuals, duplicates etc), as well as links and usability.
Mobile Optimization -
Google declared in 2015 that mobile-friendly websites would be preferred over non-mobile friendly ones and would be taken into consideration when it comes to Google Search Ranking results. That, coupled with the fact that 52% of the world’s website traffic comes from mobile means mobile optimization is a very important area to pay attention to. Some of the most crucial elements are usability, page speed, site navigation, site search, forms, responsive design, and conversion. The Mobile-Friendly test tool will indicate which areas need work, how the site performs across different devices, and whether or not speed and navigation factors are more cumbersome for visitors than helpful.
Adding site to relevant online directories -
because SEO values local citations, it means higher ranking for local search queries and becoming more visible. Agents who list their website consistently and prolifically (name, contact details and address) can be rewarded by search engines - in the form of verification, legitimacy and trustworthiness of the agent brand.
Impactful Content -
This means having keyword-rich and informative pieces of content on the site that will make it easier for it to be found because it showcases an agent who is knowledgeable and is heavily involved in activities in the region. It’s extremely useful to get the right geographic keywords in headings, subtitles, meta descriptions, alt text and URLs.
Descriptions go far -
When it comes to high-res images and even video, adding detailed descriptions or transcripts to go along with them will make it easier for search engines to crawl and index that content. One study compared almost 40 web pages before and after adding transcripts. Pages with transcripts earned on average 16% more revenue than they did before transcripts were added.
Aiming for Featured Snippet -
These are the coveted paragraphs or lists that appear in search engines and can potentially boost organic traffic and visibility. They’re hard to get, but it’s worth giving it a shot by posting (and answering) queries that other sites may not have addressed yet, using relevant, geo-focused long-tail keywords and tags that people are genuinely using.
Provide tools -
Some examples are the mortgage calculator and the investment property calculator, but there are several others that people use and appreciate, and provide a reason to come back to the site again and again. These tools are so simply implemented, but make up a high percentage of search volume in the entire vertical (with four dedicated calculators in the top ten).
The important thing to remember is that SEO will still matter in 2021, but many of the practices have changed, as well as the layout of SERPs overall - it’s more competitive and overpopulated with ads. Google’s 2019 BERT update applied significant pressure on professionals to focus more on optimizing content based on search intent rather than just keywords, and many businesses are still floundering in the water. It does, however, leave room for real estate agents to shift gear and adapt to the changing landscape, providing as much value as they possibly can for visitors.
For more on the importance of digital-first approaches in property, check out our recent blog post on the changing needs of modern consumers.
The Changing Needs of Modern Consumers
As we become more digitally adept in our approach to almost everything, how are property buyers’ and sellers’ needs changing, and how can agents adapt?